Gingin info session on toxic PFAS

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A community information session on PFAS, which can contaminate waterways and water supplies, will be held in Gingin on Wednesday, July 25 from 2.30pm to 7pm.

RESIDENTS can attend an information session about the toxic chemicals, once used in firefighting foams at Gingin satellite airfield and which now can contaminate waterways.

The Department of Defence is a holding a community information session to provide the community with an update on the detailed environmental investigation into per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at Gingin satellite airfield and nearby areas.
Members of the investigation team will be available to discuss the results of the detailed site investigation as well as the next steps in the process.

In October 2017, the department started a detailed environmental investigation into the presence of PFAS on and in the vicinity of Gingin satellite airfield.
The objective of this environmental investigation is to identify the nature and extent of PFAS in the environment from the use of legacy firefighting foam at the site.
The three stages to the investigation are a preliminary site investigation, a detailed site investigation and if required, a human health and ecological risk assessment (HHERA).
The first stage of the investigation, the preliminary site investigation has been completed.
The second stage of the investigation, the detailed site investigation has started and will involve sampling on-site and in the surrounding region.

A detailed report will be prepared and shared with relevant government and regulatory bodies as well as the community.
If required, a HHERA may be conducted to evaluate potential exposure pathways to people, plants and animals and to inform potential actions to reduce PFAS exposure.

The decision to conduct a HHERA is informed by the findings of the detailed site investigation.

The findings from the investigations will be used to identify and prioritise site specific management actions to address PFAS contamination.
Meanwhile, communities battling contamination from toxic PFAS chemicals that have leaked from Department of Defence and commercial sites have banded together to highlight, what they say is a growing environmental and health crisis across Australia.
The Coalition Against PFAS (CAP) has launched a website www.cappfas.com to update, inform and advocate for dozens of impacted communities.
CAP president Lindsay Clout said in the last few months alone PFAS chemicals have been identified in water supplies or waterways in Katherine, Bundaberg, Canberra, Darwin, Richmond, Townsville, Maitland and Melbourne Airport along with potentially 90 other sites around Australia.
“While the United States has declared cleaning up PFAS contamination a ‘national priority’ and European countries move towards stating there is no safe level of exposure, our government has sat on its hands,’’ he said.

“Given Williamtown in New South Wales and Oakey in Queensland are among the first confirmed contaminated sites, so often we are the first point of contact for young mothers, the elderly and other community members seeking advice on how to protect their homes and families,’’ he said.

The federal Parliament has announced an inquiry into the government’s management of PFAS contamination in and around defence bases.

Submissions to the inquiry to be conducted by the PFAS Sub-Committee of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, closed on July 6.

The community information session will be held at the Bendigo Sporting Complex, 1 New St, Gingin on Wednesday, July 25 from 2.30pm to 7pm.

A presentation will start at 2.45pm.

Light refreshments will be provided and all are welcome.

For more information email gingin.defence@jacobs.com or contact the Gingin environmental investigation project team on 1800 290 601.